Boxer Cartridge

transcribed from an article in The Technical Educator Weapons of War V
by An Officer of the Royal Artillery

The Boxer cartridge for the Snider rifle consists of a case of thin brass .005inch thick, rolled into a cylinder, and covered with paper, by which the coil is cemented together, The coiled brass is fitted into a double base-cup of brass, with an iron disc forming the end of the cartridge which abuts against the breech block of the rifle. The case is secured in its position by means of a rolled paper wad inside, which is squeezed out with great force against the sides of the case. The iron base is attached to the cartridge by means of the copper “cap-chamber”, which contains the detonating arrangement; the cap-chamber, being riveted over at each end, holds the base tightly to the cartridge.

The ignition is effected by means of a percussion cap, resting on a shouldered brass anvil. To explode the cap, it is necessary that the crown of the cap should be indented ( by the striker of the rifle, for example), when the detonating composition is brought into contact the anvil, and the flash passes through the fire-hole at the bottom of the cap-chamber to the powder in the case.

The top of the cartridge is closed by means of a small quantity of wool, over which is fitted the bullet. This bullet has four grooves or cannelures round it, which serve to carry the wax lubricant, which in this ammunition is distributed in a thin film around the bullet. The construction of the bullet is peculiar, the head as well as the base being hollowed out. The base is hollowed out for the same reason as in the muzzle-loading Enfield – viz., for the insertion of a clay plug, by which the bullet will be expanded into the grooves of the rifling, The head of the bullet is made hollow, in order to give the necessary length to the bullet without increasing the weight.

The following are the details:

  • Length of the bullet 1.065 “
  • Diameter (without lubrication) 0.573”
  • Weight 480 grains
  • Length of cartridge 2.445”
  • Weight 1 oz.10drs 20grs.
  • Charge 70 grains.

This bullet, although an ingenious contrivance for overcoming the difficulties inherent in a large bore slow-twist rifle, is the least satisfactory part of this ammunition; and repeated changes have been made, and innumerable experiments, with a view to the adoption of another bullet for this arm. Hitherto the results have been attended with little marked success , and all that can be said is that the present bullet gives an accuracy and general shooting power about equal to that of the old Enfield, and superior to it in one respect – viz ., that the wounds inflicted by the hollow-headed bullet are much more severe than those inflicted by a solid-headed bullet.